Perceptions and Prospects in Life Sciences in a Heterogeneous Latin American Population
Leonardo M. R. Ferreira,
Giovanni A. Carosso,
Gustavo Vaca Diez,
Laura Ines Rivera-Betancourt,
Dalila G. Ordonez,
Natalia Montellano Duran,
Diana K. Alatriste-Gonzalez,
Lilian Gonzalez Auza,
Carolina V. Alexander-Savino,
Omar Gandarilla Cuellar,
Mohammed A. Mostajo-Radji
Posted 07 Jan 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/514216 (published DOI: 10.1057/s41599-019-0275-0)
Posted 07 Jan 2019
Particular challenges exist for science education in the developing world, where limited resources beget curricula designed to balance state-of-the-art knowledge with practical and political considerations in region-specific contexts. Project-based biology teaching is particularly difficult to execute due to high infrastructural costs and limited teacher training. Here, we report our results implementing short, challenging, and low-cost biology courses to high school and college students in Bolivia, designed and taught in collaboration between scientists from developed nations and local science instructors. We find our approach to be effective at transmitting advanced topics in disease modeling, microscopy, genome engineering, neuroscience, microbiology, and regenerative biology. Importantly, this approach was unaffected by the students' backgrounds, education level, socioeconomic status, or initial interest in the course, and increased participants' interest in pursuing scientific careers. These results demonstrate efficacy of participatory learning in a developing nation, and suggest that such techniques could drive scientific engagement in other developing economies.
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